December 31, 1999 I was sitting in a rented RV at a Disney World campground. Way back in the '80s, my father had the idea for all of us Morgans (13 kids) and our future families to spend the momentous occasion all together at the very spot we enjoyed year after year during my childhood. (Yes, the whole crew would pack up in the RV and head down to Florida during our spring vacation. Still not sure how they pulled that one off.)
I remember standing on the beach that night, a 28 year-old single girl, looking around at all of my brothers and sisters, some married with kids already grown and starting their own lives, others of us still wondering what the future had in store. I dreamed of bringing my own family on that trip, slightly terrified that I would never realize that dream.
December 31, 2009 Here I am ten years later.
The friend I called from that Florida trip to wish a happy birthday is now my husband. I carried two handsome (and enormous) boys... and experienced the roller coaster that is international adoption. I faced my own mortality and made a commitment to my family to live each day grateful for the gifts I've been given. I worked hard, made tremendous progress in my career and then walked away, taking a huge risk, to begin a new professional life that I believe in with every fiber of my being.
I've watched my hair turn grayer, the wrinkles multiply and my hands look like they belong to some woman in her late 30s. What was black and white a decade ago now has so many shades of gray and I've learned to never say never. The perfect day includes time with well-behaved kids (here's to hoping) and date night is sometimes a Target run with my husband. My expectations have been tweaked and my skin has grown thicker. My weight still fluctuates those five to ten pounds but I work to be strong and healthy and worry less about looking how someone else thinks I should.
Ten years. I have felt tremendous pain and the most exhilirating happiness. I have sacrificed, compromised, fought for what I believe in and created waves. I've learned tough lessons, and have been humbled by life's challenges. I am grateful for the past, working to live in the present and planning for the future. I've taken life by the throat, and been kicked to the curb. I've seized opportunity and sometimes missed the boat. I grown stronger, yet softer... more giving, yet protective. I've lived. I've loved. And to bring me to this moment, I'd do it all over again.
Happy New Year.